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Calculate CO2

Welearn

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Hi all,
As I am a Reef keeper, I have set up a superfish Home 40litre Non Co2,for my 5yr old Granddaughter who is gaining interest into her own set up.
As I know very little on Co2 injection and this may be a very dumb question to ask,How can we calculate how much Co2 is in the water?
The set up is 3weeks old so still fishless cycling. Plant and wait is my motto!!
Parameters are:
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 2.0ppm
Nitrates 3ppm
KH 6
GH 9
PH 7.2
Much appreciate your expert advice!!
Please see attached photo!!
Thanks Simon.
 

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Andy Pierce

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Nice setup. Best way to measure CO2 is with a drop checker. Purchase some 4 dKH drop checker solution and it will be yellow/limy green at 30 ppm, bluer below that and yellower above that. It's not an instant read; you need to wait a couple hours before it's accurate, but you can leave it in the tank permanently.
 

ceg4048

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As I know very little on Co2 injection and this may be a very dumb question to ask,How can we calculate how much Co2 is in the water?
Hello,
As Andy mentions, the standard way to start is to use a dropchecker. A tutorial is available as a sticky at the top of this forum section=> CO2 Measurement Using A Drop Checker

No one can actually know the CO2 level in the tank, however we can get a general sense of whether the CO2 levels are acceptably high for the plants by noting their health and we can get a general sense of whether the CO2 level is acceptably low for the fish by noting their behavior. Fish suffering CO2 toxicity (search the term "hypercapnia") exhibit specific behavioral patterns that clearly indicate toxicity. Using a dropchecker correctly gives us a quick and easy way to determine if we are in the zone of acceptability without necessarily knowing the actual concentration level, which really can only be determined using a very expensive instrument.

Some will argue that there are charts available which show the relationship between CO2, pH and KH of the water, but these charts make assumptions that may not apply to anyone's tank.

In any case have a look at all the stickies in this section and also have a read of the posts in this section and that will bring you up to speed quickly. Measurement of CO2 concentration level as some arbitrary ppm number is only one piece of the overall CO2 puzzle and by itself is surprisingly meaningless and will NOT show you the whole picture. The injection method, the filter flow rate, the flow patterns throughout the tank, the lighting levels, as well as the timing of when the gas injection is enabled every day are all interrelated and must all be understood to some degree in order to ascertain the behavior of the gas and its usefulness to the plants in the water column.

Plant and wait is my motto!!
Excellent motto.👍

Cheers,
 

Welearn

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Andy,
Thank you so much for your compliment and valuable advice concerning My question on Co2.
Of course I will look into your suggestion of a drop checker, JBL do one I have looked at.
To update we are now going through the ugly stage of cycling, brown diatom stage has been minimal!!
Trimmed the Hydrocotyle tripartita today with a 50% water change, we are experiencing some white/gray looking fuzzy stuff on the bonsai driftwood,which some blows off with my turkey baster some I get a old toothbrush to get off then net it when it floats. I guess this is harmless and part parcel of cycling. The substrate we used is JBL Manado Dark which has a slightly high iron release along with nitrate release also. The set up we have gone for easy/medium plants for starters! Anubias petite/bonsai. Had a bit of rhizome rot on a couple but now stemmed and settling in nicely. The tripartita is slowly responding well to 6 hours lighting the par level is 247 though I can't understand why we have blue led incorporated along with the whites? I use blue led for my Reef. There is good agitation from the pump circulating top to bottom being a carpet plant. Nitrites are still riding at 2.0ppm Nitrates risen to nearly 10 ppm.
Could we try a liquid carbon source? We use Tropica premium fert once a week, water changes twice a week. Patience is the key!! And my Granddaughter is resigned to be that.
Once again thanks for your valuable input!! Any further advice on the above would be much appreciated.
Regards,
Simon.
 

Welearn

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CEG,
Thank you too for your response to the Co2 in question. I have read your tutorial requested which I found to give a educational insight to how it works!! Excellent and valuable indeed. I have to admit these Co2 charts could be quite misleading to a novice like myself. I have not kept Tropical fish since the early to mid seventies!! How times have changed! Thermostat hooked on the frame work outside the glass to monitor your heater inside the glass along with under gravel filter and basic live plants, few neons and guppies.
Thank you once again for your expert opinion, very much appreciated and the patience game that comes with the Hobby.
Kind regards,
Simon.
 

ceg4048

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Co2 charts could be quite misleading to a novice like myself.
Hello Simon,
Glad you found the information valuable. The charts are actually very useful but they have been misinterpreted because, like a contract, folks often forget to read the fine print. The fine print states that the data on the chart is valid when the only source of acid in the water sample is Carbonic acid because the chart is derived from the Carbonic acid equation. When other acids or alkaloids are present in the water then they automatically invalidate the equation. So any agent in the water that has an effect on pH will corrupt the pH reading taken. Using the chart with tank water or tap water, or even rain water therefore will almost always generate a false low pH, which will then generate a false high CO2 reading.
I can't understand why we have blue led incorporated along with the whites?
Well, red, green and blue allow you to mix and obtain any color you desire in the tank. Having only red, green and white would restrict your color choices, which may not be as attractive. The higher end LED lamps add yellow and violet diodes to give even better artistic control.
I have not kept Tropical fish since the early to mid seventies!! How times have changed! Thermostat hooked on the frame work outside the glass to monitor your heater inside the glass along with under gravel filter and basic live plants, few neons and guppies.
Yes, up to a few years ago I still had a few of those small metal framed tanks. Always had the goofy box filters in the corner though. UG filters were "exotic". :geek:

Cheers,
 

Welearn

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:thumbup:Hi Clive,
I certainly did enjoy reading your Article on Co2 :thumbup: you should write a book in my opinion:thumbup:
At the moment we are only through nearly 3 weeks into cycling and taking the easy low Tec way.
With Anubias petite, Hydrocotyle Tripartita. We have used the JBL Manado Dark substrate sort of a clay based which has a fairly high content of iron plus a release of Nitrate so I researched. The Hydrocotyle they rate as a Medium plant, growth seems to be good without Co2 injection. Our idea is to take it slowly and maybe advance into more plants at a later Date.
Is it worth investing on a Drop checker or not? We are now experiencing some fungal growth on the bonsai driftwood I use my Turkey Baster to blow off some then net it!! I gather this is a common scenario when cycling.
We are going to ride it out. We have now introduced Tropica premium fert once dosed a week.
Nitrites are still High at 2.0ppm Nitrates are between 5-10ppm.
Thank you for response and time.
Kind regards,
Simon.
 

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Andy Pierce

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It's not worth having a drop checker unless you have injected CO2 gas, but that said, since you've already dropped £££ on test kits, another £5 on a drop checker won't hurt. ;) In any event, without injected CO2 gas the drop checker will always just stay a pretty opaque blue colour. You can use a liquid carbon source as an algaecide which is what I do and for which it can be reasonably effective but the liquid carbon never provides any meaningful amount of useable carbon for plants. You won't for example be able to move the colour on a drop checker with liquid carbon (I know because I've tried).
 

Welearn

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Andy,
Enquiring about a drop checker in the event of providing a Co2 kit.Considering the set up is low key there is no point.

As for £££s on test kits no.I use a visit to Maidenhead aquatics. The idea of liquid carbon,plus up the ferts could assist the decline of white fungus on the driftwood, besides there isn't much fungus quite common I read when cycling.
 

ceg4048

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I certainly did enjoy reading your Article on Co2 :thumbup: you should write a book in my opinion:thumbup:
Hi Simon,
There's a lot of work writing a book. Maybe we do a movie first and then publish the screenplay haha.
We have used the JBL Manado Dark substrate sort of a clay based which has a fairly high content of iron plus a release of Nitrate so I researched.
OK, but I really wouldn't get too excited about your substrate. Hobbyist read manufacturers claims and magazine testimonials and get mentally programmed, assuming the product is some kind of new scientific breakthrough. Just to be clear, the fact that the substrate is clay is 10X more important than the small amounts of nutrients it contains. These tiny amounts of nutrients cannot compare with nutrition that you can add simply by dosing the water column with our standard dry powders, which farmers have been using in one form or another for hundreds of years. Have a read of my post in the thread regarding the benefits of clay=> Brown edges of leaves, what does it indicate?
Your dosing regimen should include small amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, none of which is contained in the sediment or in your Tropica Premium. Right now your plants are living on borrowed time as they are using the reserves of NPK they stored when they were grown in the nursery. This is yet another level of programming, where hobbyists are taught to be afraid of NPK, which builds in future failures if not corrected.
Is it worth investing on a Drop checker or not?
As mentioned, unless you are injecting CO2 there is no point as the DC will simply read blue, which only indicates the water has CO2 equilibrium with atmosphere, which can be anywhere from 2ppm to 8ppm depending on temperature.
We are now experiencing some fungal growth on the bonsai driftwood I use my Turkey Baster to blow off some then net it!! I gather this is a common scenario when cycling.
This is common but is not a result of cycling. Fungal growth is a result of wood rot due to the wood being submerged and the fungus feeding on the decay. When you do a water changes, use a scrubbing pad and wipe the fungus off as often as you can.
Nitrites are still High at 2.0ppm Nitrates are between 5-10ppm.
Test kits are another controversial subject and in my opinion, their use should be curtailed as much as possible. Currently, you are now being programmed to think that when you experience problems in the tank, reaching for a test kit will solve your problem. It has been my experience that folks who are programmed in this way almost always misdiagnose their problems and they run back to the pet shop who are only happy to sell them some other useless product. I advise to simply continue to perform large water changes (50% or more tank volume) 2 or 3 times a week for the next 3 weeks or so. Your tank will stabilize automatically and the water changes will remove toxins from the water.
Also, if you think you will try CO2 then it's best to learn about CO2 injection before you add fish. CO2 is highly toxic to fish and it takes a bit of practice to learn the ins and outs.

Cheers,
 

Welearn

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:clap::clap:Hello Clive,
I hope I have pronounced your name correctly. I have read your Article with avid interest ;)
I Do believe you would be a great writer👍 If a film does come to light in the near future a front row seat for sure:clap:to update you I took the two bonsai trees out and scrubbed the fungi off !! What a whiff that came from them. You are definitely correct in your assumption being wood rot!! I have reboiled them and placed them back into the tank plus I have done a 60% water change, thus we are now into a bacterial bloom quite a heavy one white milky colour. Also i replaced 60% of water tonight, but decided to let it run its coarse.the substrate in question is important clay based but inert also. The driftwood I may have to replace but I will wait and see what develops. I do love a challenge!! This is the beauty of any hobby. For Co2 I shall not enter into. Carbon liquid is a way I could enter into, as for NPK a all in one complete is the other way too. Any suggestions for both would be much appreciated. The Anubias and Hydrocotyle are now becoming established but it's horses for coarses as we say here.
I can't thank you enough for your assistance and time I have learnt quite a great deal from you. I would wish to continue to keep you informed on how we progress many thanks Clive.
Cheers
Simon
 

ceg4048

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Hello Simon,
Glad you find the information useful. There is not much you can do to stop the fungal growth. It's just something we have to put up with. After a while underwater the growth will not return. Just continue to wipe clean as it appears until it stops. No need to buy new wood as the same thing will always happen.
The bacterial blooms are also something to endure until the tank stabilizes. Just continue frequent and large water changes.
As the tank is only 40L the cost of liquid carbon will be manageable. As tank size increases the cost become more prohibitive because it needs to be dosed every day. Some of our sponsors sell lower cost liquid carbon as well as NPK powder packs, so be sure to check.
Looking forward to your updates!

Cheers,
 

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